Spectacular

A few weeks ago whilst examining my Emulators folder, I noticed a had a ZX Spectrum Emulator. It was the ZX Spectrum 4 Emulator that has a nice virtual keyboard so you can program in BASIC. So, I had a play around with it and liked what it had to offer and wondered if there were any affordable real ZX Spectrum computers on eBay. At this point I though it would be like the prices currently set for Commodore 64 computers, out of reach and going nowhere. Well, I wasn’t wrong! 😲

And as luck with have it, I was able to get a ZX Spectrum+ through ‘Buy It Now’ for £99 ( delivered ) and thinking ahead, I chose one that had been refurbished. It has been recapped ( Capacitors replaced ), a Composite Video Mod ( The RF box has been modified to use a Composite Video signal for much improved picture quality ) and a Keyboard Membrane replacement and also a modern Power Supply Unit with a slightly shorter cable for which I have a better solution on its way! However, I have noticed internal speaker doesn’t work. But when the MIC has an audio lead going to a Composite Audio port you have sound. I haven’t opened it up to see, but I am happy that there is sound through a TV, but I would have been happy with sound through the internal speaker. It would be awesome to get hold of a refurbished ZX Spectrum 128! These are much more expensive, especially on eBay, but have an AY Sound Chip. Meaning that some Demos and Games utilise it, which gives a much more richer sound experience. I am not particularly interested in getting a Disk Drive or Tape Deck for software and want to embrace the future of SD card technology for loading and saving.

So, quite literally, I got hold of a divMMC from ‘The Future Was 8bit‘ to enrich the experience on the ZX Spectrum+. The device is truly awesome and has a port and allows the use of Atari 2600, Commodore 64 or similar Joysticks. Not forgetting the primary use of loading and saving games and programs. The only slight problem I did have was loading .SNA files saved with the Fuse ZX Spectrum Emulator. They didn’t work properly when saved out with Fuse and most files were corrupted ( they did work on a PC ), but thankfully, by reaching out to Vinny Mainlofi helped with his suggestion to use Spectaculator to save as a .SNA file, thus solving everything! 😊

I am hoping to do some BASIC programming on the ZX Spectrum and maybe some assembler as well. It might take me a while, but I will have a go. I also need to continue and finish off a little game I started on the Commodore 64 last year. There has been so much going on though, it has been inevitable to have some projects slowing down, but not being totally abandoned.

For the moment, the ZX Spectrum+ sits on top of the Ultimate 64 with LEGO flat bricks used as special Coasters. When the ZX Spectrum isn’t being used it is tucked away on the shelf behind with a Tea Towel as a cover to keep the dust off! 😊

I found this book by chance on Amazon and it’s pretty awesome. ‘The Little Book of Sinclair ZX Spectrum Games‘ by Chris Wilkins has a nice selection games from different genres with screenshots and photographs of ZX Spectrum computers making it a real bargain and insight into the humble, British home computer.

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